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Title: The impact of urban groundwater upon surface water quality : Birmingham - River Tame study, UK
Author: Ellis, Paul Austin
Awarding Body: University of Birmingham
Current Institution: University of Birmingham
Date of Award: 2003
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A field-based research study has been undertaken on the River Tame within the industrial city of Birmingham, UK, to understand better the influence of urban groundwater discharge on surface-water quality. The 8 km study reach receives ~6% of its total baseflow (60% of which is groundwater) from the underlying Triassic Sandstone aquifer and flood-plain sediments. An integrated set of surface water and groundwater flow, head and physical/chemical data was collected from installed riverbed piezometers and existing monitoring across the aquifer. Field data and supporting computer modelling indicated the convergence of groundwater flows from the sandstone/drift deposits and variable discharge to the river (0.06 to 10.7 m\(^3\)d\(^{-1}\)m\(^{-1}\), mean 3.6 m\(^3\)d\(^{-1}\)m\(^{-1}\)), much of which occurred through the riverbanks. Significant heterogeneity was also observed in groundwater quality along and across the river channel. Key contaminants detected were copper, nickel, sulphate, nitrate, chlorinated solvents, e.g. trichloroethene, and their biodegradation products. Groundwater contaminant concentrations were generally lower than expected and ascribed to dilution and natural attenuation within the aquifer and riverbed. High concentration plumes were detected, but their effect was localised due to substantial dilution within the overlying water column of the river. Estimated contaminant fluxes were not found to reduce significantly the present surface water quality, which is poor (>30% is pipe-end discharge). Comparative studies elsewhere and further elucidation of heterogeneity and natural attenuation controls are recommended.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: QE Geology ; GE Environmental Sciences